As I explained in a previous post entitled “Is the Paris Accord better than nothing?” in December of 2015, the recent Paris Accord provided little comfort for those looking for immediate action against climate change. While it provided a statement reminding us that future temperature increases should not exceed 2.0 degrees Celsius, it said nothing about the specific changes that need to be made in order to achieve that goal. Instead, the climate modeling that was implicit in the Accord assumed that after we have used up our allowed +2C carbon budget (about 1,000 gigatons of total carbon emitted), probably at about midcentury, some presently unknown Negative Emission Techniques (NET’s) will be used to compensate for our continued emissions thereafter. Thus, instead of making modifications to our present carbon intensive lifestyles, the Accord simply assumed that various Dr. Strangelove schemes for removing CO2 from the atmosphere will be invented and successfully implemented later in this century. In other words, future generations will “simply” have to deal with the mess that ours has made and will very likely continue to make in the coming decades.
After studying the various methods of Geoengineering that might provide the envisioned NET’s, I regard this assumption of the Accord to be little more than a cop-out designed to soothe the collective consciences of our generation. In order to amplify and verify my view here I will refer the reader to a U-Tube interview with Dr. Kevin Anderson, an international leader in the field of climate modeling. It can be seen at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-t9XpFUoGU Please be sure to watch at least the first 6 minutes of this interview. The U-tube format will also lead you to other presentations and interviews with Dr. Anderson. His recent full lecture on the subject called “Going beyond ‘dangerous’ levels of climate change” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T22A7mvJoc is particularly recommended.
Bottom line: The only viable opportunity we are likely to ever have to prevent the worse outcomes of global warming in the future is the one we now have before us and that is by doing all we can NOW in this and the next decades to drastically reduce our emissions of CO2. This remedy especially requires the participation of the more wealthy among us because we have the highest carbon footprints and are financially most able to quickly make necessary changes. Ironically as well as sadly, this fact also might help explain why the Paris Accord put so little pressure on the present well-off inhabitants of the Earth and, instead, put that pressure primarily on our grandchildren. Because the Accord “plan” is very likely to be little more than a pipe dream, it is absolutely imperative that the relatively wealthy persons of the world carefully consider the real and latest assessments of the science involved here – as related in the references to Kevin Anderson provided above. So unless you find comfort in the lie, “but nobody told me about this problem”, please put on your thinking cap and carefully listen to Kevin Anderson.